Bugs That Cause Cancer- And What You Can Do About It

The two easiest ways to help to prevent  two common cancers is easily obtainable but not generally known to the public.

The bacteria H.pylori is implicated to cause stomach cancer

Stomach cancer, which is the second leading cause of deaths due to cancer, shows a worldwide incidence but seems to be more common in the Far East where it is attributable to the consumption of pickled and salted foods. However, it is now known that a cause of stomach cancer is a bug well-known for causing stomach and duodenal ulcers, called Helicobacter pylori (H pylori). Now, researchers have shown that if they were to eliminate this bug from those suffering from early stages of this cancer, they were able to effect a cure. Read more of this here.

More doctors believe that if one’s stomach contains these bugs,it may be better to rid of them by swallowing a course of antibiotics.

For patients having symptoms suggestive of stomach ulcers(the non-cancerous kind), the presence of H pylori can easily be detected by a few easy ways, including breath tests and blood sampling. Sometimes, a scope needs to be inserted into the stomach to obtain tissue samples. Once the test is confirmed positive, a 2-week course of antibiotics that includes one or more of these -lansoprazole, amoxycillin or clarithromycin- is given to eliminate this bug from the stomach.

Primary liver cancer, the fifth most common cancer in the world, is a deadly cancer for which the outlook is bad as, by the time someone has symptoms, the cancer is far-advanced and has spread to other organs. Again, a bug – the hepatitis B virus-has been identified to be the cause in 50% of primary liver cancers aka hepatocellular carcinoma, aka hepatoma.

The hepatitis B virus causes 50% of primary liver cancer

The role of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in causing liver cancer is well established. So much so, an effective means of prevention is to get Hepatitis B immunisation shots after a prior blood test has confirmed the absence of previous infection due to hepatitis B virus. In most countries in Asia, it is already mandatory for all newborns to be immunised, so there is a real chance that the incidence of liver cancer due to hepatitis B will fall dramatically in the near future.

Talk to your doctor and discuss whether these two groups of medical drugs can reduce, even eliminate your chances of getting these cancers.


9 responses

  1. So you are calling the Hep B virus a bug? I thought that you were going to say that it could be spread by insects when I first started reading your post. I had Hep C for most of my life after being transfused at surgery at 14 months of age. Eleven months of hellish therapy with Interferon and Rebitol and I have been viral free for three years now. I wonder if anything along those lines are on the horizon for Hep B?

  2. bug from Compact Oxford English Dictionary

    noun 1. an insect of an order including aphids and many other insects. 2 . any small insect. 3. a harmful micro-organism or an illness caused by a micro-organism. 4. an enthusiasm for something: the sailing bug. 5. a microphone used for secret recording. 6. an error in a computer program or system.

    There are reports on Interferon being used for hepatitis B infection but its success is limited, depending on the activity of the virus.

  3. you forgot the hpv which causes cervical cancer. it can also be prevented by a vaccine.

  4. Interesting, I had never seen that application of the word before. It’s always good to learn new things though.

    Since the “B” and “C” virus’s are very different Interferon may not work very well on the “B” virus. I spoke with someone out at University Hospital the other day, and they were talking about it (Interferon) being useful for treating Yellow Fever, which is a very close cousin to the “C” virus.

    In any case, watching a person die from either virus, or the secondary effects, such as liver cancer, is not a pleasant thing. I saw several over the years while working as a Paramedic.

  5. The third bug, HPV, causing cervical cancer.

  6. Thanks joolee and nokenzo.
    I left the HPV out as well as the EBV(which causes lymphomas and nasopharyngeal carcinoma) as the main intention of the post was to highlight the more lethal and common cancers for which people can easily do preventive measures.

  7. Patricksperry, agree with you there. You need to just see one liver cancer patient to realise its one of the worst ways to go…
    Which is why more should be done to raise awareness of the Hep B vaccine as an effective method of prevention.

  8. My father passed away due to liver cancer. It only took less than 5 months before he left us. He was first diagnosed with gallblader and when the operation was done, only then the doctor noticed he got liver cancer. Even the operation cannot helped him. Only then, I realised the danger of Hepatits B.

  9. HI Dr,

    Did a colonscopy 2 weeks ago and did asked the dr about pylori bacteria-he did not seemed too concern about it…I was told about pylori bacteria and your article further reinforced what I heard…thanks. Yes, I am trying to get my gf to go for the hpv vaccine.

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